Navy Announces Successful Test of Electromagnetic Catapult on CVN 78
Navy Announces Successful Test of
Electromagnetic Catapult on CVN 78
From PEO Carriers Public Affairs
Washington D.C. — (NNS)
— May 15, 2015 — The Navy conducted the first-ever, shipboard, full-speed catapult shots using
the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) aboard the aircraft carrier
Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), Naval Sea Systems Command
announced May 15.
EMALS is a carrier-based launch system designed to expand the operational
capability of the Navy's future carriers to include all current and future
planned carrier aircraft. The recent test shots, known as "no-loads" because no
aircraft or other loads were attached to the launching shuttle, successfully
demonstrated the integrated catapult system. Using electromagnetic technology,
the system delivers substantial improvements in system maintenance, increased
reliability and efficiency, higher-launch energy capacity, and more accurate
end-speed control, with a smooth acceleration at both high and low speeds. By
allowing linear acceleration over time, electromagnetic catapults also place
less stress on the aircraft.
Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) transiting the James River
"This is a very exciting time for the Navy," said Program Executive Officer for
Aircraft Carriers Rear Adm. Tom Moore. "For the first time in over 60 years,
we've just conducted 22 no load test shots using electricity instead of steam
During the tests, generators within the ship produced an electric pulse, which
was passed through power conditioning electronics to linear motors just below
the flight deck surface. This energy allowed for the linear motors to propel the
launching shuttle down the catapult track in excess of 180 knots before bringing
the shuttle to a stop at the end of the track.
The next phase of EMALS testing, scheduled for this summer, will involve
launching "dead-loads" off of the bow of CVN 78 into the James River. "Dead-loads"
are large, wheeled, steel vessels weighing up to 80,000 pounds to simulate the
weight of actual aircraft. The dead-loads will be launched from each catapult
using a specific test sequence to verify that the catapult and its components
are operating satisfactorily.
To date PCU Gerald R. Ford is 90 percent complete and 1550 Sailors have reported
for introduction and training. CVN 78 will be commissioned in March 2016.
For more news from Naval Sea Systems Command, visit